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GUIDE TO THE RIVER WNION

(Bridge off A494 to Bontnewydd)

NAME OF RIVER: Wnion.

WHERE IS IT?: North Wales. Runs through Dolgellau into the Mawddach Estuary. OS Sheet 124. Map.

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Put in by a bridge just off the A494, a mile or so upstream of Rhydymain.

Take out at Bontnewydd (bridge).

APPROX LENGTH: 3 miles.

TIME NEEDED: 20 min blast to 3 hours.

ACCESS HASSLES: Jealously guarded game fishing river so no welcome in this valley for paddlers. Efficiency and discretion recommended at the access and egress points.

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Photos attached show low water conditions (April, no rain in the previous few days). Be aware that there are quite a few tributaries below the get-in, so don't judge the volume at the put-in alone.

GRADING: Grade 3 (4+ in flood?). Note that flood conditions may add a grade to the difficulty...see Wnion trip in Jerry Murland's WW diary for Oct 25th 1999.

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: This is a tree lined river and quite narrow in places, so tree strainers are something to watch out for. This is especially so for the bottom gorge section. My guess is that eddies are few and difficult (trees) in high conditions.

There was a death on this river due to pinning some years ago. (Update - half way down before the gorged up section in low flows. In high flows this pin potential vanishes).

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: ICCC did this in April 1988 in low conditions, as shown in the photos.

Basically there are three sections:-

1) Top - easy at grade II (III)
2) Middle - more continuous grade III becoming grade IV. In particular there is an open gorge section which gets narrow and twisty.
3) Bottom - fast section through a walled-in gorge.

OTHER NOTES: This was a great little trip and first appeared in a guidebook in Terry Storry's 'Snowdonia WW, Sea and Surf' (1986!), so it is surprising that it isn't so well travelled as some of the others nearby.

The Mawddach and Eden are very close by. There is an easier section of the Wnion downstream.

CONTRIBUTED BY: Mark Benson.